Medina Hahn looks sharp in Any Night.
ANY NIGHT Written and performed by Daniel Arnold and Medina Hahn. Presented by DualMinds at Passe Muraille Mainspace. See SummerWorks.
If one company personifies SummerWorks' National Series, it's DualMinds, the acclaimed troupe that consists of writer/performers Medina Hahn and Daniel Arnold.
The pair's debut work was Tuesdays & Sundays, written in 2000, when they were still students at the University of Alberta's theatre department.
That show, a love story about two star-crossed rural lovers, went on to wow the rest of the country - local audiences saw it at the 2001 Toronto Fringe - as well as far-flung places like Edinburgh, Prague, New Mexico and Manhattan.
As a radio play it's been broadcast on the CBC and the BBC, and it's been optioned twice for film.
"Daniel and I said last August that we wouldn't perform it again," says Hahn, "but if someone calls from Europe, who knows?"
Now the company's back on the festival circuit with Any Night, about sleep, night terrors and issues of privacy and trust.
It was inspired by the real-life account of Kenneth Parks, who made legal history when his killing of his mother-in-law was attributed to sleepwalking. During their first show's Toronto Fringe production, the two met with June Callwood, who had authored a book about Parks called The Sleepwalker.
"We also visited sleep labs, researched what people do when they sleep, studied brainwave activity," says Hahn on the phone from Vancouver.
"We were fascinated with how much we don't know about the sleep and dream world."
Unlike the realist world of T&S, Any Night jumps around between times, places and states of being.
"People who've seen earlier versions compare it to the movie Memento," says Hahn. "It's definitely non-linear. We like to write things that aren't laid out easily for the audience. You have to use your brain."
The piece, she insists, is still in development, and director Ron Jenkins (fresh off the New York production of BASH'd) has, she says, come up with simple ways to do amazing things.
"In a dream or nightmare you can do anything," she says. "The material lends itself well to multimedia, especially video. We've got a great sound design, but I think this could be a visually stunning show."
Along with Any Night, the other National Series shows are Sheldon Currie's Lauchie, Liza And Rory (from Halifax), Doug McKeag's Doom 2012 (from Calgary), Rumble Productions/Theatre Melee's Cozy Catastrophe (from Vancouver) and Jodie Essery and Talya Rubin's The Girl With No Hands (from Montreal).